Research in Science Education

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 565–587 | Cite as

Socio-Scientific Discussions as a Way to Improve the Comprehension of Science and the Understanding of the Interrelation between Species and the Environment

Research Report

Abstract

This article reports on a qualitative and quantitative study that explored whether a constructivist Science learning environment, in which 9 to 10-year old Colombian girls had the opportunity to discuss scientific concepts and socio-scientific dilemmas in groups, improved their understanding of the concepts and the complex relations that exists between species and the environment. Data were collected from two fourth grade groups in a private bilingual school, a treatment and a comparison group. Pre and post tests on the understanding of scientific concepts and the possible consequences of human action on living things, transcriptions of the discussions of dilemmas, and pre and post tests of empathy showed that students who had the opportunity to discuss socio-scientific dilemmas gave better definitions for scientific concepts and made better connections between them, their lives and Nature than students who did not. It is argued that Science learning should occur in constructivist learning environments and go beyond the construction of scientific concepts, to discussions and decision-making related to the social and moral implications of the application of Science in the real world. It is also argued that this type of pedagogical interventions and research on them should be carried out in different sociocultural contexts to confirm their impact on Science learning in diverse conditions.

Keywords

Science education Constructivist learning environments Empathy Environmental interconnectedness Scientific concepts Socio-scientific discussions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BogotaColombia

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